Back in top-10 but Sania’s task gets tougher

When Sania and Vesnina reached the final last year at Roland Garros,they had been playing together for several months and had won two titles before the French Open.

Written by Smriti Sinha | New Delhi | Published:May 28, 2012 12:57 am

The past week held more significance for Sania Mirza than winning a 14th doubles trophy. The 25-year-old not only moved back into the world top-10 (criteria to qualify for London Games) with points from the Brussels tournament but also spent much-needed on-court time with her new partner American Bethanie Mattek-Sands before the daunting task of defending 1,400 points at the French Open.

The Grand Slam result will have a make-or-break effect on the June 11 deadline for Olympic qualification. The Brussels title is only a temporary relief and needs to be consolidated with a good result at the clay Slam in order to qualify for London. “I’m striking the ball well and am happy to have carried my good form to the clay season… It is not possible to predict the outcome of any one tournament (French Open ) but I’ll continue to give it my best shot,” Sania told The Indian Express from Paris.

Apart from the pressure of the Olympic qualification,the big challenge in the coming fortnight for her comes from the top pairs. She and Bethanie haven’t been tested by Slam contenders since pairing up again a fortnight ago.

They won only four games in Rome Masters against Lisa Raymond and Lizel Huber,the only top team they have encountered. Bethanie and Sania have played only six matches together this season.

When Sania and Vesnina reached the final last year at Roland Garros,they had been playing together for several months and had won two titles before the French Open.

However,Sania was forced to make amends after Vesnina moved on to play with a fellow Russian. “One has to make adjustments with a new partner but I’ve been fortunate to win 14 doubles titles in my career with nine different partners … Bethanie and I have done well together both recently and in the past. I also won a doubles title in Cincinnatti in 2009 with her. We played the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and US Open together and I’m looking forward to going deep in tournaments with her again,” Sania said.

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